I just returned from a blissful week in Kauai! The beaches were beautiful but the plant life was amazing! Coffee plantations, cocoa plantations, tropical orchards, reclaimed cane fields and lush state parks - so many things to see. I even found my perfect golf course - a mini golf course that wound through a tropical botanical garden!
On this tiny paradise, you can go to a different farmer's market every day of the week! And it wasn't just pineapple, papaya and coconuts...fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets could all be found. Restaurants proudly listed the farmers that produced their food on their menus. What an amazing farming and food culture.
On Monday, I bravely took the boys into Twin to refill our refrigerator at the grocery store. While I have access to wonderful food from these stores, it just isn't the same as shopping in a farmer's market. This time of year I long to be able to walk out into a garden and pick fresh produce that hasn't been stored or shipped hundreds of miles. We are blessed to live in beautiful Idaho, but it does have some challenges for year-round gardening. My solution is preserving the harvest. This week I have pulled canned beans, pickled beets, frozen corn, applesauce, salsa and canned tomatoes from the pantry to put nutritious meals on the table. While it isn't "fresh", I know exactly what ingredients went into each jar and that each vegetable was picked at its peak.
Ask us about canning shares and what vegetables we recommend that can get you started. Canning can be intimidating at first glance with all of the warnings of food borne illness. I grew up canning with my mom and had a pretty good handle on the basics. But, I still took a class! My good friend, Grace, teaches food preservation classes through the University of Idaho that gives you all of the details as well as a hands-on experience. Her next class is in May....